Creating sustainable peace in northern ireland inviting women combatants to the table
This presentation is the property of its rightful owner.
Sponsored Links
1 / 26

Creating Sustainable Peace in Northern Ireland: Inviting Women Combatants to the Table PowerPoint PPT Presentation


  • 87 Views
  • Uploaded on
  • Presentation posted in: General

Creating Sustainable Peace in Northern Ireland: Inviting Women Combatants to the Table. Sandra McEvoy, Ph.D. Director of Political Science and Global Studies Wheelock College. Photo courtesy of Ian Wood, 2003. Outlining a pathway from violence to the peace table.

Download Presentation

Creating Sustainable Peace in Northern Ireland: Inviting Women Combatants to the Table

An Image/Link below is provided (as is) to download presentation

Download Policy: Content on the Website is provided to you AS IS for your information and personal use and may not be sold / licensed / shared on other websites without getting consent from its author.While downloading, if for some reason you are not able to download a presentation, the publisher may have deleted the file from their server.


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - E N D - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Presentation Transcript


Creating sustainable peace in northern ireland inviting women combatants to the table

Creating Sustainable Peace in Northern Ireland: Inviting Women Combatants to the Table

Sandra McEvoy, Ph.D. Director of Political Science and Global Studies

Wheelock College

Photo courtesy of Ian Wood, 2003


Outlining a pathway from violence to the peace table

Outlining a pathway from violence to the peace table

  • History and key actors to the conflict in Northern Ireland.

  • Reframe the security debate to take a more thoughtful look at the threat that women combatants already pose to sustainable peace.

  • Reflect on the insights of women members of Protestant paramilitary groups in Northern Ireland between 1974 and 2007.

  • Solidify the connection between the threat and promise of bringing combatant women to the peace table.


Roots of the northern irish conflict

Roots of the Northern Irish Conflict

  • 1170 Norman Invasion of Ireland

  • 1916 Easter Uprising

  • 1920 Government of Ireland Act

  • 1966 Republicans/Nationalists “celebrate 50 years of struggle” against the British

  • “1968 – 1998

    “The Troubles”


Language of conflict

Language of Conflict

  • Loyalist

    • Considered “extreme” portion of Protestant/Unionist population willing to use violence.

    • “Loyal” to the British crown

    • Main groups: Ulster Defense Association (UDA) and Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF).

  • Republican

    • Considered “extreme” portion of Roman Catholic/Nationalist population willing to use violence.

    • Main groups: Irish Republican Army (IRA) and Provisional IRA .

  • Paramilitaries

    • Members are civilian or non-state actors

    • Groups adopt military organizational structure

    • Loyalist paramilitary organizations (LPOs)


Gendering peace and security

Gendering Peace and Security

“Analysis of women’s uses of politicized violence in global politics is needed if women’s experiences of war and conflict is to be understood beyond their status as victims” (Sjoberg and Gentry 2007).


Stereotypes of women as threats to peace and security

Stereotypes of women as “threats” to peace and security

  • Non - thinking

  • Easily manipulated

  • Overly emotional

  • Unnatural

  • Sex crazed

  • Commonality - stripped of agency


Creating sustainable peace in northern ireland inviting women combatants to the table

Enloe 2007

Feminist-informed investigations by academic and activist researchers have revealed that many forms of public power and private power are dependent for their operation, legitimation and perpetuation upon…controlling popular notions of femininity and masculinity… if we do not become seriously interested in the conditions and lives of women, we are likely to craft analyses of international power dynamics that are at best incomplete, at worst faulty and unreliable.


Participants

Participants

  • 30 women who identified as past or present members of LPOs

  • Ages 22 – 64

  • Married, divorced and very few single

  • All self-identified as working-class

  • Rural and urban women

  • Mothers, grandmothers and those without children

  • Highest levels of education - middle school (age 13) to high school (age 18)

  • Interviews took place in the women’s homes or other safe place selected by them


Themes in interviews

Themes in interviews

1. Rejection of the stereotype that as a group, Protestants live among the comfortable middle-class.

2. Misconception that Loyalist women did not participate in LPOs or have an interest in participating in peace negotiations.

3. Anger and frustration with the British government’s cross-border negotiations with Republicans.


Cross border initiatives and dis agreements

Cross-border Initiatives and “Disagreements”

  • 1974 - 2007 the British and Irish governments engaged in 4 separate attempts to bring political stability and reduce armed conflict in Northern Ireland.

  • Initiatives aimed to devolve power, create a power sharing executive and reform social and political structures.

  • “Disagreements” - unacceptable compromises that Loyalists thought only rewarded Republicans for violence against the British state.

  • In 30+ years of research on the conflict, scholars and political party leaders have either excluded LPO women from their thinking or have assumed that their views mirrored that of their male counterparts.


Cross border initiatives

Cross-Border Initiatives

  • Sunningdale – 1974

  • Anglo-Irish - 1985

  • Good Friday (GFA) / Belfast Agreement – 1998

  • St. Andrews Agreement – 2007


Creating sustainable peace in northern ireland inviting women combatants to the table

Ballysillan Road, Belfast , 2006. Photo courtesy of Jonathan McCormick

Lincoln Courts, 2004. Londonderry, Photo courtesy of Jonathan McCormick


Sunningdale 1974

Sunningdale - 1974

Respondent:That was the time whenever they tried to force that other agreement, not the Anglo-Irish one...the…the…

Interviewer:Sunningdale?

Respondent:Yes, because that was the reason why I got involved.

“Gloria.” Interview with author. Belfast June 2006.


Sunningdale agreement

Sunningdale Agreement

As I say, because we felt at risk, you know? We

felt hard done by. You could see your whole

culture and your whole way of life just going down

the drain and becoming a united Ireland. You

know? You could just see that. You can see that

to this very day we are all still very, very frustrated.

You could see that then you can still see it.

“Chloe,” interview with author, Belfast, June 2006


Responding to sunningdale

Responding to Sunningdale

  • Chloe repeatedly states her fear of her Protestant culture being degraded by further advances by Republicans . She saw Sunningdalewas just the start of a “United Ireland.”

  • Her concerns about the formation of a “United Ireland” was as present for her in July 2006 as it was in December 1974.

  • In almost a refrain, she states, “You could just see that. You could see that then and you can still see it…” and, “You can see that to this very day” suggesting that she feels as though the threat of a United Ireland remains.


Reflecting on good friday

Reflecting on Good Friday

…[people] like me, they didn't understand all the implications.  I knew the police force was going to get a good shake up.  But I didn't realize how much and that we would lose the RUC all together…  After thirty years we had had enough… but we didn't realize the price we would have to pay.

“Chloe” Interview with the author, Belfast 2006


Creating sustainable peace in northern ireland inviting women combatants to the table

Loyalist Opposition to the GFA

Photo courtesy of Jonathan McCormick, 2006


Locating women in the dialogue on conflict and post conflict

Locating women in the dialogue on conflict and post-conflict


Conflict as a factor in reshaping women s lives

Conflict as a factor in “reshaping” women’s lives

1. sudden accession to household head with limited resources

2. mobilized as soldiers in patriarchal militaries

3. subjected to increased medical and social vulnerability

4. shoulder increased security risks in disintegrating polities

Karam, 2001


Conflict as a factor in reshaping women s lives1

Conflict as a factor in “reshaping” women’s lives

5. confront increased sexualized violence

6. negotiate family disruptions

7. disadvantaged refugees

8. experienced increased violence in ‘domestic’ space

9. engage war structured sexual work

Karam, 2001


Women in the post conflict period

Women in the “post-conflict” period

  • UNSCR 1325 (2000)

    • Calls on Members States to consider the special needs of women and girls at all levels of repatriation, resettlement, reintegration and post-conflict reconstruction processes.

  • UNSCR 2212 (2013)

    • Calls on Member States to fund women’s leadership programs and local civil society organizations who disproportionately do the difficult daily work of conflict prevention and resolution.


Ddr in northern ireland

DDR in Northern Ireland

  • Northern Ireland has never seen a formal DDR process and has never had a UN presence.

    • The focus was on decommissioning of weapons and demilitarizing the country at the expense of all other areas of focus.

  • Not surprisingly these processes have excluded combatant women (as they often do in many post-conflict environments).

  • Further complicating recovery - many women do not want it known that they were involved in politically violent groups for fear that they will be stigmatized or ostracized by their families.


Ddr s mixed bag in northern ireland

DDR’s “mixed bag” in Northern Ireland

  • In Northern Ireland, LPO women “self-demobilized.” This process allowed many women to return to the status quo immediately after the conflict ended.

  • However, other women expressed a sense of frustration that the end to the conflict would also bring an end to a type of emancipatory politics that was impossible in traditional Protestant communities.

  • The combination of the denial of women’s role and the race to normalcy following the conflict meant LPO women were by definition excluded from peace processes.


Impacts of excluding lpo women from conflict resolution processes

Impacts of excluding LPO women from conflict resolution processes


Making the link combatant women and sustainable peace

Making the link – combatant women and sustainable peace

1. Combatant women are a violent constituency capable of disrupting the success of any negotiated peace.

2. Combatant women have important insights and interests that are useful to negotiations.

3. Inclusion of combatant women interrupts gendered stereotypes of women as necessarily peaceful, lacking agency and interest in peace possibility increasing the likelihood of resolution.


Concluding thoughts

Concluding Thoughts

  • Inclusion of women combatants in conflict resolution processes is untested but the potential benefits are promising.

  • Inclusion of politically violent women in such negotiations is not a panacea.

  • The testimony of LPO women has exposed a fatal error of British negotiators that there is a gendered dimension to peace and security.

  • Interviews with women members of LPOs reveals what scholars have previously been hesitant to acknowledge: where women stand on the multiple and complex issues surrounding political conflict has an impact on security and peace.


  • Login